Drug Residue In Water Could Make Bathing Risky

We have been following the issue of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_drugs">pharmaceuticals in drinking water and the danger of these drugs on human, environmental, and aquatic communities. Now, says Science Daily, showers and baths could also be polluting our waterways with hormones and antibiotics. The information was released by scientists at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco on March 24. This first-of-its-kind analysis could promote emerging methods in which to “control environmental pollution from active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs),” said Science Daily.

Ilene Ruhoy, M.D., Ph.D., study co-author, discussed how scientists have been aware, for some time, that bathrooms are responsible for much of the APIs release into the environment, reported Science Daily. Research has long pointed to toilets as being the main conduit of drug release into the water, citing APIs’ excretion via urine and feces into toilets in which the path continues into sewage treatment plants, said Science Daily. APIs could pass through disinfection entering lakes, rivers, and oceans, explained Science Daily.

Of course, some APIs also taint the environment when medications are intentionally and unintentionally flushed down toilets. Many drug residues end up in municipal water supplies through normal bodily functions; however, some end up there because people often dispose of unused medications by flushing them down the toilet.

“We’ve long assumed that the active ingredients from medications enter the environment primarily as a result of their excretion via urine and feces,” said Dr. Ruhoy, director of the Institute for Environmental Medicine at Touro University in Henderson, Nevada, quoted Science Daily. Dr. Ruhoy conducted research with Christian Daughton, Ph.D., of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Exposure Research Laboratory in Las Vegas. “However, for the first time, we have identified potential alternative routes for the entry into the environment by way of bathing, showering, and laundering. These routes may be important for certain APIs found in medications that are applied topically, which means to the skin. They include creams, lotions, ointments, gels, and skin patches,” Dr. Ruhoy added.

The team discovered the potential for APIs to enter the environment in this new way after reviewing hundreds of studies on the use of these drugs and how they metabolize, looking at mediations applied to the skin or which leave the body from sweat, said Science Daily. These routes can cause medications to wash off the body and exit through bathroom drains and include, said Science Daily, steroids and hormones, acne drugs, narcotic, and antimicrobials.

Sweat is a newly recognized pathway and can occur when clothing has either been in contact with medications applied to the skin or when medications sweated out of the skin enter the fabric, said Science Daily. This pathway enables a stronger concentration of those medications because they do not require break down in the liver or kidneys.

“Topical APIs, from bathing and showering, however, are released unmetabolized and intact, in their full-strength form,” Ruhoy said. “Therefore, their potential as a source of pharmaceutical residues in the environment is increased,” quoted Science Daily.

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